Mobile Management, Security Still a Challenge for Businesses

The survey revealed a growing chasm between what mobile workers want and what IT departments can secure is causing friction for businesses.

Just 18 percent of organizations are confident that their mobile policies are compliant with corporate policy and government regulation, according to a report from mobile productivity solutions specialist Accellion, and AIIM, a global non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals.

Just more than half (51 percent) of organizations surveyed said they have big doubts about their mobile content management processes, even though nearly two-thirds of respondents have or plan to allow official enterprise content management (ECM access) through mobile devices. Meanwhile, 70 percent of respondents expressed concern and another 20 percent were extremely concerned about mobile file sharing.

The survey indicated the growing chasm between what mobile workers want and what IT departments can secure is causing friction for organizations in all industries. Only 30 percent of organizations have an approved bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place, yet 46 percent of respondents reported that information access via mobile is "essential" and another 24 percent cite it as "somewhat important."

Only 14 percent of organizations have a corporate app store, with another 14 percent in the process of developing one, and while 51 percent of large organizations have a mobile device management (MDM) solution in place, less than one-quarter (24 percent) of smaller organizations have such solutions.

A little under two-thirds (63 percent) of organizations want to eliminate or limit virtual private network (VPN) use, and 91 percent of users must limit or control which sites or folders are accessible to users on mobile devices, like mobile users being able to access sales documents but not human-resources documents.

"The growing need for mobile content access by employees is creating significant security headaches for organizations," Paula Skokowski, chief marketing officer of Accellion, said in a statement. "How employees access corporate information is changing, and organizations need to respond to these changes by implementing new mobile policies and processes, or risk playing security catch-up with their employees."

With 85 percent of respondents using email on personal devices, 58 percent using unofficial consumer-grade products, and 43 percent unofficially accessing content through enterprise services, the study noted a chaotic landscape of varying access methods exists with little or no control from the organization.

"Organizations want their employees to have access to corporate information from mobile devices, but security and compliance are major areas of concern. Preventing access or banning BYOD merely drives users to use unauthorized methods to access enterprise information, with even greater security risks," the report concluded. "IT departments need tools that allow mobile content access to be managed and controlled in a secure way. They need to provide granular, file-level access, limit the ability to download unprotected content to the device, and have the ability to remotely wipe any enterprise content held on the device should it be lost or the employee leaves the organization."